Category Archives: Google

A #History of the Critique of #Technology: A response to @LatourBot #sts

I wrote a history of the critique of technology as a response to Latour’s “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam?” There have been few, if any, adequate responses to Latour’s ground-breaking essay. This is my second response to Latour and concurs to a degree with his thesis. My first response (“The New Critiquette“) was also a history but offered a defence of critique, or rather an analysis of the critique of critique.

This new response to Latour is the opposite of the first. I wanted to write something resourceful, something we didn’t already have. Now we have a working history of the critique of technology.

It’s big history in that it extends over an expansive historical scale (550 BCE-present) and geographic scope. I tried to be inclusive, attending to questions of gender for instance, but realize there are omissions. It’s a work in progress. I wrote nearly each paragraph as a mini-essay of sorts, meaning that it has it’s own integrity as a case study. Each of these mini-essays gives an empirical example; they demonstrate critique or criticism of media and technology at different times in different places.

The chapter sets up a series of theses, not the least of which is that the critique of media and technology has run out of steam.

If critique barely changes a thing, including youth consciousness, what is its utility? Most critiques of media and technology are instrumental by definition and intended to have an effect or make a difference. If it has been enough for criticism and critique to offer a counter to progress narratives, then how effective has this been? Has the critique of media and technology run out of steam, as Latour (2004) suggests? If out of energy drawn from the steam age, should critique be retrofit to run on light and signals? Meantime, the trend in vaping may conceivably pressurize critique enough to sputter into the future. Is the critique of media and technology over time sufficiently prejudicial or probative? Instrumental or terminal?

I had great fun writing this and have an idea of what to do next with it. It’s most immediate setting is as a chapter in Critique in Design and Technology Education, edited by P. John Williams and Kay Stables. Thank you to Kay and John, who invited me to write this. I also thank Belinda von Mergenson, David Barlex and Marc de Vries, who gave superb feedback along with other colleagues at a conference in Marseille and workshop in Sausset les Pin. The conference and workshop were hosted by Jacques Ginestiè, his wife Marjolaine, and team from Marseille University.

Sausset les Pin Workshop

Sausset les Pin Workshop

That was tremendous fun as well. And yes, despite the beauty of the tranquil setting on the coast, we did work! Merci.

Sausset les Pin Workshop

Sausset les Pin Workshop

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APIs: Is Code/Coding subject to copyright?

Can code/coding be itself subject to copyright? The answer to that question has broad implications for the unfolding of new technologies. With the binary code that underlies the infrastructure of modernity- for which presently, only a select few are able to understand, decode, or debug, the code that is used to regulate transactions of daily functions progressively moving, from desktops to portables, tablets and mobile devices- is there also a need to further define, that which is subject to copyright protection at the level of APIs running our mobile devices? The US Court of Appeal apparently thinks so; in a recent decision adjudicating competing claims by Oracle and Google. with Oracle alleging that the Android mobile operating system violated seven different Java patents. even though Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court had ruled differently, in 2012.

Happy 30 Mac #apple #google

Would it have killed Google to show some respect and do a bit of logowork to wish Mac a happy 30th? No loyalty oaths necessary here. I bought my first Mac in yes, 1984. And 30 years later I tap out this text on a Mac. Had to replace the trackpad yesterday, which exorcised the ghost in the machine, but that’s minor in the long run of 30 years. Happy 30 Mac!

Facebook waning for Teens but still popular

Of course still popular in terms of traffic for teens, currently Facebook is 2nd to Twitter among teens in terms of importance. Waning importance for teens is translating into lulls in traffic. Myspace, in 2012 less than 7% of the teens found it important, has now dropped out of the picture. Google+ is, hard to say what is happening…

See: Statista 2013 and  Statista 2012 for more

Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia

Originally from The Argus

Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia
By Andy Chiles

A lecturer has criticised students for relying on websites like Google and Wikipedia to do their thinking for them.
Professor Tara Brabazon, from the University of Brighton, said too many young people around the world were taking the easy option when asked to do research and simply repeating the first things they found on internet searches.
She has dubbed the phenomenon “The University of Google”. Continue reading